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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pure Sea Glass by Richard LaMotte

Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature's Vanishing Gems by Richard LaMotte with photography by Celia Pearson. Chestertown, Maryland: Chesapeake Seaglass Publishing, 2004. ISBN: 0-9753246-0-8

This beautifully photographed book makes a wonderful companion to Beach Stones, reviewed here not too long ago. In fact, I have to confess that this notion is not original with me, since I first saw the two books together in a local book store. Since my house (and garage) have WAY too many books lounging about already, I only rarely purchase books any more. Instead, I go to my local library's online catalog, and request them. So that's what I did with these two gorgeous books.

So what exactly is “sea glass?” If broken pieces of glass are discarded near the beach, and spend several years tumbling amid the sand, pebbles, and waves, it gives the glass a smooth, opalescent frosted surface. The salt water is particularly suited to producing the frosted appearance so prized by collectors.

When we were kids, my siblings and I used to pick up similar pieces of glass in the creek that ran along two sides of our small farm. We called these “edged-off glass,” because the previously sharp edges were worn smooth from tumbling among the gravel beds in the creek. But our glass was generally not very frosted. Sometimes only the edges were frosted, not the rest of the glass. Nevertheless, we innately regarded these pieces of glass as small treasures, worthy of keeping and preserving among our childish keepsakes.

This book is as comprehensive a treatment of the subject as one could possibly wish for. Not only is the process by which sea glass is created described, but the techniques and thought processes that go into predicting where sea glass is likely to be found are explored as well. All of the different colors that can be found are depicted, along with an analysis of their rarity or commonness.

And finally, there is an extensive photographic study of the types and colors of bottles and other sources of glass that were produced in different historical periods, from which sea glass colors and types are undoubtedly derived.

But none of that is what makes the book so evocative. It is, instead, the beautiful pictures of the sea glass, often displayed on pure, sparkling white sand crystals, which reflect the frosted opalescence of the glass pieces themselves. This is a stunningly beautiful book in which to browse. Highly recommended.


  • Never did I imagine, someone has written a book on what I thought was just a "beach leisure sport". I will definitely have to check it out.

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    By Blogger Carol Van Rooy, at 8:13 PM  

  • Will,
    I just found your very generous comments about Pure Sea Glass and am very grateful for your wonderful remarks. If your closest copy is still only at the local library let me know your address and I'll forward one you can keep or give to a friend.
    Best wishes and happy hunting!
    Richard LaMotte

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:34 PM  

  • I just purchased a copy of the book, Pure Sea Glass for my sisters Birthday. I am planning on purchasing a copy for myself. We both want to start collecting sea glass. I just happen to look online for the best place on the eastern shore and happened upon a story about Mr. LaMotte living in tolchester, VA and how he collects sea glass there. That is how I found out about this fabulous book. We are planning on going out there to began our adventure. We are from Fairfax, VA, about 3 to 4 hour drive. We are so excited. Thank you Mr. LaMotte for your beautiful book and your inspiration. Kat (Kathleen)

    By Blogger Kathleen Sibley, at 5:56 PM  

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